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December 6, 2017



Projects proposed by KP included in CPEC

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday disposed of a writ petition filed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser after expressing full satisfaction at written assurance of the federal government in the court that province’s proposed projects/schemes had been included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Younas Thahim disposed of the petition when Qazi Muhammad Anwar, counsel for provincial assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, informed the bench that the purpose of the writ petition had been served as reservations of the petitioner were removed in the federal government written reply.

During the hearing, Shaukat Khattak, deputy director media, CPEC and representative of the Ministry of Planning in the case, informed the bench that ministry stood by its submitted reply as no changes had been made in the written comments of the ministry.

On the previous hearing, the provincial government had expressed apprehensions over the changes made to the projects after submission of the reply by the Ministry of Planning and Development in the court.

However, the CPEC deputy director media submitted that only the proposal by Chinese experts to first develop the Hattar Industrial Estate was discussed in the meeting as infrastructure had already been built there, but the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) did not recommend that suggestion and stated that the Rashakai Economic Zone M-1 be kept on the first priority in the CPEC.

The petition was filed by Asad Qaiser. He had sought direction for the federal government to develop the western route of the CPEC and execute several other development projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Asad Qaiser said he was the custodian of the assembly, which represented the collective will of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and therefore, he was duty bound to follow unanimous resolutions passed by the assembly about the CPEC.

In the reply submitted to the high court, the Ministry of Planning and Development said the JCC in its 6th meeting had agreed to the development of hydro projects along the North Indus River.

On the other hand, federal government through reply by the Ministry of Planning and Development said the JCC had agreed, in principle, for inclusion of Mass Transit System (Circular Railway Track among Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi) as part of the CPEC component including Greater Peshawar Region Mass Transit and feasibility of the project is under preparation by the KP government.

It said the JCC referred the priority list of location of special economic zone to the Joint Working Group on Industrial Cooperation. It included Rashakai Economic Zone on M-1 proposed by the KP government and feasibility of the zone has been shared with the Chinese side.

The federal government stated that the JCC had agreed to include the KP government-proposed Chitral CPEC link road from Gilgit, Shandur and Chitral to Chakdara in the CPEC.

“A project expansion and reconstruction of existing railway track main line-1 (ML-1) from Karachi to Peshawar is part of CPEC and currently under implementation. Dualisation of the Indus Highway remaining portion (128km, Kohat Sarai Gambila) and ground breaking is expected shortly, which is non-CPEC project and approved by ECNEC,” the reply stated.

It was also stated in the reply that ground-breaking of a non-CPEC project of upgradation/dualisation of Motorway link from Kohat-via-Jhand was expected shortly.

The reply added that work had commenced on the KKH Phase-II (Thakot-Havelian Section) in September 2016 and would be completed by March 2020.

The government said the ECNEC had approved a new CPEC project of the KKH Thakot-Raikot N-35 remaining portion (136 km) in May, this year.

It said that the railway from Khunjerab to Havelian under CPEC project had been approved as well.